walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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For Only $40,000, Jane Austen’s Ring Can Be Yours

A gold and turquoise ring that belonged to Jane Austen, a Mozart among English novelists if one thinks about the dazzling perfection and brilliant invention of her prose, or perhaps a Vermeer if one considers the intense observation and painstaking description of her portrayals, is being auctioned off at Sotheby’s next week in London. The ring’s provenance seems pretty well established; this is a rare chance to buy a serious piece of real literary history.

We sometimes scoff at the medieval love of relics; preserving bits of dead saints in jewel encrusted cases strikes many people today as odd rather than moving. But as we contemplate this possession of someone whose spirit still speaks so clearly, that medieval passion seems a little easier to understand.

It’s often hoped that objects of this kind when they come up for auction will be bought by some museum somewhere and displayed to the public. In this particular case, we hope instead that it stays in private hands. Austen was a private person, and she wrote about private lives with an insight and clarity that nobody before her had ever done. Her personal possessions belong with people, not in institutions. This ring would make the most wonderful of gifts; we hope it goes to the right place.

 

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  • dearieme

    I own Thomas Carlyle’s smoking cap. Any offers?

  • thibaud

    Maybe Mr. Bingley will buy it. “I wouldn’t be as fastidious as you for a kingdom, Darcy.”

    Anyway, For the love of God, it’s a better investment than other objets d’art on the market these days:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_the_Love_of_God

  • Immanuel Goldstein

    I have Occam’s razor. It’s somewhat worn by now and doesn’t keep an edge like it used to, but It can still shave the hair off of a ripe peach.

  • http://thepencilofnature.net Lorenz Gude

    My dear Immanuel @3. I know, I know – I borrowed it embarrassingly long ago and been using it to shave the coarse curly hair off conspiracy theories for many years. That probably explains the dullness. I promise I shall send it off to you in the morning Express Mail so you can put it up for auction at Sotheby’s and receive your just reward.

  • Ernst Blofeld

    In the hands of a modern-day George Wickham this would be like Osama bin Laden with the nuclear launch codes. “Hey, baby, come up to my place to see my etchings and wear Jane Austen’s ring?”

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